Sangh Parivar lays claim on Gandhi legacy
Latest ‘Organiser’ has Mahatma on cover
Govt TV commercials show Father of the Nation
Like Sardar, Mahatma also joins the list of Parivar’s icons
Congress interested only in Nehru-Gandhi dynasty: Seshadri Chari
New Delhi, October 6: There is a deliberate move to disconnect Mahatma Gandhi from the Congress party and project him as an icon that belongs to every Indian. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a concerted attempt to win over the admirers of Gandhi by elaborately launching ‘Swachha Bharat Abhiyaan’ and repeatedly mentioning the name of the Father of the Nation. It was followed by the TV commercials released by the Union government as part of the campaign calling on general public to keep the country clean and follow the message of the Mahatma.
The publication of Mahatma Gandhi’s picture on the cover page of RSS mouthpiece ‘Organiser’ completes the sketch drawn by the Sangh Parivar. This makes it clear that the Sangh Parivar is making a serious effort to lay claim on Gandhi’s legacy. In fact, there are many commonalities between the philosophies propounded by Gandhi and the RSS.
Although the Father of the Nation adored the cover of the Organiser previously, the latest cover story is hugging the news cycle as it comes at a time when the RSS and Sangh Parivar is in the midst of a sustained effort to lay claim on Gandhi legacy, says a report published by Economic Times.
The cover has Gandhi with broom and basket, with the phrase ‘Mission (Im)possible’ written across. Not only on the issue of sanitation, even on the question of conversion, there is agreement between the views of Gandhi and RSS. The story also says that the name of Gandhi does not mean anything to the Congress Party today except suggesting that he is connected to the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.
Former editor of Organiser, Seshadri Chari says, “It may come as a surprise to everyone that even in 1950, two years after the assassination of the Mahatma and after RSS got banned, and then when the bag got lifted, Gandhi’s photo was published by the magazine. His name was added to the list of great sons of India whose names are mentioned in the early morning prayer (Pratah Smaran) at every sakha. The baggage of Gandhi’s assassination, says Seshadri, was something imposed on RSS by its detractors. He said the people in RSS believe that the definition of Hindutva given by Gandhi was one of the best ever enunciated.
Political observers opine that the demographic changes that have been taking place over the decades warranted that Sangh Parivar has to come out with a strategy to win over young people. Since the young who were not present when the historic events took place and have no personal experience of the development, they can be led to believe that there is no contradiction between Gandhi and RSS leaders. The impressions created by the propaganda that RSS was responsible for the assassination of the Mahatma could be erased and new image of RSS as favourably disposed towards the memory of Father of the Nation could be inculcated. Just as the BJP and the Sangh Parivar tried to own Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a Congress stalwart and an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi, it is now trying to claim the legacy of another Gujarati jewel. Many of the issues dearer to the Sangh Parivar such as sanity, cottage industry, village development, rural development have been the articles of faith with Gandhi. BJP-RSS leaders like Nanaji Desmukh had dedicated their lives for rural development by scarifying luxurious city life and high political office. Mohan Dharia was the last Congress leader to follow Gandhi ideals. But we find many among the leaders of the Parivar working in agency areas toiling to help educate the tribal youth.